Grove City College Professor of Biology Fred Brenner and student Lexie Arkwright ’18 were honored by the Mercer County Conservation District with Pioneers in Conservation awards.
Brenner was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with the Conservation District, dedication to education, a massive body of research and a commitment to ecology and conservation. He has been on the Grove City College faculty for 49 years and is recognized as a certified senior ecologist, wildlife biologist, and environmental inspector and a professional wetland scientist.
Arkwright, a Conservation Biology major from Mercer, Pa., who has worked with and for the Conservation District since she was in high school, was honored for her enthusiasm and efforts to advance environmental education.
The awards recognize those who have made a significant investment in the idea of natural resource conservation. Brenner and Arkwright were among those recognized at the Conservation District’s annual dinner on April 27. Grove City College alumnae and Conservation District staffers Larissa Cassano-Hamilton ’12, a watershed specialist, and Jacqueline L. McCullough ’10, environmental education coordinator presented the awards.
“It was honor to present Dr. Brenner with an award, especially because I had him as a professor,” Cassano-Hamilton said. Beyond his professional and educational qualifications, “Dr. Brenner has donated his time and served on the Mercer County Conservation District Board of Directors for almost 50 years. His dedication is truly inspiring,” she said.
She also noted that Brenner invests in future generations by being involved with Boy Scouts of America and sharing his love and respect for the outdoors, has shaped Munnell Run Farm, the outdoor educational complex where the Conservation District is headquartered, by overseeing wetlands construction and best management practices, and advocates for environmental education in our schools and communities.
Dr. Kristina Pazehoski ’01, chair of the Department of Biology at Grove City College, said Brenner’s award is well-deserved.
“Dr. Brenner amazes us all with the level of his involvement in many conservation-focused organizations. His willingness to share his expertise with these organizations over many years has allowed him to impact not only our local community, but the entire state of Pennsylvania and surrounding regions. I’m thrilled that his efforts are being recognized by the Mercer County Conservation District through this award,” she said.
McCullough, who also serves as an adjunct instructor at Grove City College, presented Arkwright’s award. “She has a passion for conservation and teaching others, of bridging the gap between the two. She has worked hard to get where she is today and has great potential as a future environmental educator. She will go far making a difference in generations to come,” McCullough said.
Arkwright went from high school volunteer to summer employee at the Mercer County Conservation District, adding a pivotal dimension to its educational programming. She secured an internship last summer at Oil Creek State Park, where she gained crucial experience and coordinating and running a wide array of programs, McCullough said.